The International Writers Magazine: Tech & Me
Observations ( April 2012)
I just looked over last month’s “Observations,” something I do from time to time to make sure I haven’t written anything too outlandish, and see that I wasn’t too happy with the automated phone systems that have become all too pervasive in our society.
Of course, these systems are just one aspect of our high-tech world and I think the way I feel about them pretty well represents the way I feel about high-tech in general.
Don’t get me wrong (or as the TV talking heads always put it “Having said that”), I know that high-tech is here to stay. I’ve had a desktop computer since I retired and although I don’t think I’ll ever entirely trust it (just this morning it failed to come on for some unknown, to me, reason) I use it every day for my writing, including what I’m writing now. I also use it to e-mail and recently have started Skyping with our son in Ireland so that we can now see our grandkids there. Also, Beverly and I have had cell phones for the last several years and they’ve come in handy a number of times, notably to tell people our plane has landed, usually late, and we’re ready to be picked up. Beverly also has a laptop she uses to send pictures of our grandkids to all and sundry.
Still, I have a feeling that our technology is moving ahead too fast and I’m not sure where it’s all going to end. The computer is getting smaller and smaller, from the desktop to the laptop to the iPod and iPad and other handheld tablets or devices. Do I really want to watch movies, TV shows and sports events on a tiny screen? And do I really want to have a mini-computer with me at all times, no matter where I am and what I’m doing? Okay, evidently millions of other people evidently do (and I should have bought Apple stock) but as an old geezer I don’t have to go along with the crowd.
The handy cell phone has become the smart phone which takes pictures (making cameras obsolete) and which connects to all the other devices we have. We already have people, especially young people, spending most or all of their time tweeting and texting. I have a vision of the future in which people walk around or sit in rooms, not looking at one another, but squinting into their tiny devices, immersed in all kinds of inconsequential stuff, tweeting and texting, unaware of the world around them. Of course, everyone will be wearing glasses as their eyesight will have been impaired. (The glasses will go along with the hearing aids as what passes for music nowadays will have left everyone deaf. But everyone will have great finger dexterity (or digital arthritis. Ed)).
Books. already an endangered species, will have become non-existent except as relics of the past. Conversation, among real people that is, will be a thing of the past. As for phone systems, they will have become completely automated. The few actual persons now left will be gone. Even those technical support persons in India and other far-off places, almost impossible to reach now, will have been replaced by automatons and these will be completely impossible to reach. Print newspapers, already reduced in size (see your Sacramento Bee) will also have completely disappeared. So much for starting the day off by doing the daily crossword puzzle. Of course, we know how this will all end. We’ve seen it in numerous science-fiction movies. Robots will take over the world.
Okay, maybe this vision of the future is a little extreme, but who knows? In the meantime, the iPad 3 is out and this will be another step along our high-tech road. Since the iPad2 will be obsolete, I might look into getting one so I can be only one step behind. And I hope our Skype will keep on working. That’s one device I want to keep.
I’ll e-mail this “Observations” in now while my computer is still up and running.
© Martin Green April '12